After years of heartbreak and disappointment, Alex Beck’s first act after making the Australian Olympic team was to get in touch with the athletes who missed out.
If anyone knows the despair of missing an Olympics, it’s Beck.
He narrowly missed both the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics, and also suffered the anguish of failing to qualify for his home 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
After the thrill of claiming the 2013 Australian 400m title, Beck would have to wait seven more years to be crowned national champion again.
It is why in his moment of greatest triumph he was quick to think of the athletes whose Tokyo dreams had been dashed.
“There are so many great athletes who missed out by one or two places and one or two points, which is heartbreaking,” Beck said.
“The thrill and excitement for some is disappointment for others.
“Being a little bit older and going through that heartbreak, I made sure the first couple of messages I sent were to those athletes that came so close.
“Hannah Jones, a Gold Coast 100m hurdler, missed out by two places. I messaged her, congratulated her on a great season, and told her to keep going.”
Beck missed out many times in his career but the 29-year-old kept coming back.
The toughest break of all was to be told by officials he was not good enough when he failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.
The Bond University Bachelor of Exercise Science and Doctor of Physiotherapy alumnus says they are words no athlete should have to hear.
“Those words are absolutely devastating and to hear that can crush athletes.
“It’s hard enough, the sport is so brutal. I wanted to make sure that these athletes (who missed out) know they are good enough.
“They aren’t determined on a number on a screen or a ranking point, they are a lot more than that.
“Never give up, keep showing up. Keep at it, things will go your way.”
Beck’s journey to the Olympics has been a long one.
To finally get picked for the Games, after creating history as the first person in 30 years to win the national 200 and 400m double this year, makes it so much sweeter.
“Goosebumps - it is a dream come true,” he said.
“It’s all I’ve ever wanted - to compete in the Olympic Games.
“Everyone that knows the hardships of this sport understands that it’s a journey of thousands of training sessions, gym sessions, blood, sweat and tears.
“To get that phone call makes everything worth it. All the lactic sessions and the sessions you scrape yourself off the track – it’s all worth it to wear the green and gold with the five rings on your chest.
“I’m so excited to represent friends, family and country and do the best I can do on the world’s stage.”
Alex Beck (Class of 2010)
Heats: Sunday, August 1, Olympic Stadium
Semis: Monday, August 2
Final: Thursday, August 5